Water Crisis, Over-Dependency on Oil and Terrorism Top List of 'Gen Y' Concerns

Jun 24, 2010, 14:58 ET from Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship

Student leaders unveil annual "Threat Index"

LEXINGTON, Ky., June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fifty-one distinguished students representing every state and the District of Columbia met during the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship's third annual Student Congress to release their annual "Threat Index" today—revealing that these "Gen Y" statesmen believe the greatest challenges facing their generation are the world's water crisis, our over-dependency on oil and the threat of terrorism.

"Given the fact that 1.2 billion people lack access to clean water, it is such a finite resource and seems to be a potential point of conflict. Like oil, it will be something that nations go to war over. If we don't resolve it now, it will come back to haunt this country and our generation," said Colin Kavanaugh, representing Pennsylvania.

A thread throughout the discussion and debate was how these issues are interrelated as well as the ability of future generations to bring fresh ideas to these challenges.

"What was striking is that the students' focus was on fundamentals – water, oil, terrorism – with the subtext that water and oil in the current environment clearly don't mix.  They are learning skills of diplomacy and compromise that they need to tackle complex, intertwined issues," said Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, Henry Clay board member and Director of University of Kentucky's Patterson School of Diplomacy.

"Our generation understands that our nation's oil dependence is the root of so many of the problems. Terrorism, sustainable energy, the nuclear arms race are all affected by America's reliance on oil," said Emily Jo Beyer representing the District of Columbia.

Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, who will deliver the keynote to students tonight at Three Chimneys Farm, stressed the importance of a strong civics education. "Students today need to relearn the tools of reason, logic, civility and debate—those things are the non-partisan basis of democracy, and without them, we are nothing."

The Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship convenes the Student Congress in an effort to educate a new generation of leaders in the skills and processes of statesmanship.  The conference, which was held at the University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and Transylvania University as well as Ashland, Henry Clay's Estate, in Lexington, Kentucky, focuses on the theory and practices of statesmanship.

For more information, please visit the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship website: http://www.henryclaycs.org.

SOURCE Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship